Sir Alex Ferguson believes busy Christmas period will test Manchester United’s squad depth

The 69-year-old intends to utilise a number of players throughout the festive period, whilst former player Nicky Butt calls for midfield reinforcements at Old Trafford
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says he will utilise his entire squad over the busy festive period, with his team set to rack up five matches in 18 days before their crunch encounter with Manchester City in the FA Cup third round.

Ferguson is already without a number of first team players including Javier Hernandez, Michael Owen, Tom Cleverley and Anderson, while captain Nemanja Vidic is set to miss the rest of the season with knee ligament damage.

"December is a particularly busy month when we often play eight or nine games," he told Inside United.

"We've got a Boxing Day game, a New Year's Eve game... it's going to be a hectic spell and that's when the squad really kicks in."

Despite the club's lengthy injury list, Ferguson has played down the likelihood of any new additions at Old Trafford in the January transfer window.

However, former United centre-midfielder Nicky Butt believes the boss will make changes to his side if the need for reinforcements becomes apparent.

"Every team can improve, no matter who they are," Butt told the club's official website.

"Even Barcelona can improve so I'm sure Sir Alex will sign players, whether it be in midfield, defence or up front. He's always looking to enhance his squad."

Butt also believes the Red Devils need to find a settled partnership in the centre of midfield, with Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and even Wayne Rooney all playing in the middle of the park in recent weeks.

"I think it's difficult to pick the four starting across the midfield.

"In years gone by, everyone knew who the strongest four or five was. It's different now but we've still got some good players.

"I think Sir Alex will be looking to try and get a steady pairing in the centre. He's had injuries to Darren Fletcher, Clevlerley and Anderson so it's been difficult to get a regular line-up in midfield. It helps when you can get everyone on a roll and playing well together."